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Archive for April, 2008

La Biblioteque

Today I went to the library.  Not only did I go to return an audio book (Masterpieces of short romantic fiction or something like that, one of the cassettes was broken) and to get a new audio book (The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson), but also to get some novels.  Oh, how I miss reading novels!  I’ve been reading New Yorkers and Money Magazine and Credit Union Journal and The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker, but I am craving a novel! I didn’t have my “books to read” list with me, but I remembered two titles from book reviews:  The New Yorkers (not to be confused with the magazine, it’s a novel about people in New York who relate through their dogs), and Three Bags Full, a sheep detective story (don’t even ask).  I also put in a request for the next Patrick O’Brian on my list, Desolation Island.  And, I picked one off the shelf by Vikram Seth, An Equal Music.  Did anyone else read A Suitable Boy?  I loved that book and would read it again, all 1400 plus pages (I think I read somewhere that it is the longest novel in English!)  Lately, all my favorite novelists have been Indian. Anyway, I’ll be bringing An Equal Music on my next plane trip and will report back. 

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Key West was great fun, with gorgeous weather and great food.  My favorite attraction was the Hemingway House Museum.  It’s a beautiful, historic house with two-story verandas, tall shutters and lush gardens.  The guide was a bit jaded, but told all the amusing stories about the wives, the cats, the pool, etc.  The photos on the wall are worth perusing and the cats are fun to observe (there is also a cat condo and cat cemetery).  After that we went to the Key West Art and Historical Society located in the Old Custom House. They had a intriguing exhibit by J. Seward Johnson who does the lifelike plaster statues of ordinary people.  In this exhibit, entitled “Icons”, he has replicated famous works of art as plaster statues, so there is a three-dimensional “Mona Lisa” as well as “The Girl with the Pearl Earring.”  By floating frames in the air in front of the statue, the viewer gets the impression of looking at the actual painting, then you can have your companion stand in the frame with the subject.  It sounds weird, but it was actually rather thought-provoking.  They also have a pretty good history of Key West exhibition and a Hemingway room that adds a slightly different perspective to what is learned at the Hemingway House museum.  Both are well worth visiting.  As you might expect, there are lots of local artists in Key West.  Some of the best local galleries are at the southern end of Duval, away from the Bourbon Street atmosphere toward Front Street.  We liked 1100 So Du and bought a painted tile of Hemingway’s House by Fran Decker.  When I settled by the pool on our first afternoon, after finishing both of my New Yorker magazines on the plane, I discovered that the book I brought with me (The Ionian Mission, by Patrick O’Brian) was not the next one I needed to read in the series (I should have brought Desolation Island instead.)  Once I am involved in a series, I must stay in order, so I started up Duval in search of a bookstore.  I was sure I was out of luck until I spied “Key West Island Books” down a side street (513 Fleming).  It is just the kind of bookstore I love, filled with a jumble of new and used books, and I quickly snatched one off the shelf, “A Confederacy of Dunces”  by John Kennedy Toole.  What a mistake! It definitely had promise, and I bought into the initial bizarreness of Ignatius, his mother and all the rest, but after awhile I gave up.  It was mildly amusing in the beginning, but gradually became tiresome.  I left it on the plane. 

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What have I been doing with myself since my last post in February? Well, taxes took a long time this year, then there was the destination wedding in Key West! Then, hosting Passover dinner for 17; plus, once I stop doing something, whether it’s writing or playing the piano or exercising, it just seems that much harder to pick it up again.  Sooo, thanks to Tamsie for her comment which got me back to the blog.  I have a stack of things to blog about, New Yorkers and Teaching Company (finally finished 1/3 of my course, while fellow learner, MF, finished his and Dad is 2/3 through with his course.  I have to stop trying to read every book that he discusses (The Baghavad Gita took awhile).  Onward and upward with the blog!

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